Willson Contreras is the Cubs’ starting catcher, and thank jeebus he’s mostly been healthy all year. Because the backup catcher situation has gone … Austin Romine? Hurt. Tony Wolters? Didn’t work out. P.J. Higgins? Struggling and … also now hurt.
That’s right, the Cubs’ back-up, back-up, back-up catcher is hitting the Injured List, which means not only do the Cubs need a new catcher, but they also have to make another 40-man roster move to accommodate:
Catcher P.J. Higgins to 10-day IL with right forearm strain. C José Lobatón selected from Triple-A Iowa. RHP Dakota Chalmers DFA'd.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) June 11, 2021
Lobaton, 36, has been with the Cubs since last year as a veteran depth catcher (heavy on the glove, not so much on the bat), and he’s probably going to be a solid receiver and defender, but a pitcher at the plate. He hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2018, when he posted a .143/.246/.224 slash line. He was hitting .179/.347/.410 with Iowa this year (108 wRC+), but I would expect him to contribute mostly with his glove. The Cubs are really hurting to have lost Romine almost immediately this year (to say nothing of having traded away their very good back-up in Victor Caratini … ).
I worry about the toll this is gonna take on Contreras by the time September rolls around. No word on Romine (wrist), by the way, so maybe the Cubs will wind up in the midseason market for a back-up catcher.
Chalmers was claimed over the weekend as a grab and stash pitching prospect, but hasn’t appeared yet at Double-A Tennessee. Now he’ll hit the waiver wire again, with the Cubs likely hoping he clears so that they can outright him to the minors.